As he surveyed the wreckage of 9/11, Red Meat Rudy G. proclaimed, or might have proclaimed, or should have proclaimed if he didn’t, or maybe did proclaim, even though I’m not sure he did actually proclaim, that “Irony is dead.” Or maybe it was Time magazine that did. I’m really not sure who the fuck said what.
The point is that irony was dead and in the tomb, until you rolled away the stone and breathed new life into it, and irony rose from the dead and has been by your side ever since.
For example, as soon as you realized that the terrorists attacked us because they hated our freedoms, you proceeded to make America secure by destroying the freedoms that were attracting so much attention. Free speech became “uncontrolled information,” According to the Pentagon, the internet is now an “enemy weapons system.” Criminal prosecution no longer requires the burdensome efforts of investigation, indictment, trial, and conviction. All of this is streamlined with a stroke of your pen as you declare and individual an “enemy combatant.”
A strong sense of irony has allowed you to refine leadership as you have brought it into the twenty-first century. Where leaders once ruled through brute force, our corporatists state has found a more benign weapon: value-free quantification. One sage gives us an excellent example of how this weapon can drape criminal activity in an ermine robe of respectability:
Let’s walk through one of my favorite though experiments. I say to you, “I know a great way to make money through the wonders of free trade. Give me $10, and convince 99 of your friends to also give me $10.” You do that and I take the $1000. I then do something magical in the overseas black box, and a month later I have $1500. I come back to you and give you $700, saying, “The investment went well, but not quite as well as I had hoped, so here is what I have left after my ‘management fee’. Give each person their $7 back.
To those who point out that this individual cheated his investors, we say, “How is this possible since the profit made by the crook exceeds the loss incurred by his investors, so the bottom line shows that the entire transaction contributed to our overall prosperity. He made $800 and his investors lost only $300. That leaves us with a net increase in the GDP of $500. The dollar amount of the economic growth is all that matters.”
When it comes to irony, the above is mere child’s play. In your hands irony is elevated to an art form. When you can stand up and tell the nation, on the fifth anniversary of your Iraq enterprise that, “The battle in Iraq is noble, it is necessary, and it is just”, you have truly elevated irony to the heavens where it sitteth on the right hand of God Almighty from whence it shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
Irony sings when beautiful and noble words become the perfume that smother the stench of blood and death and when crime is reduced to numbers in a ledger.